Domestic helper sentenced to death for murder

March 18, 2013

A Saudi court has sentenced an Indonesian domestic helper to death for killing the four-year-old daughter of her sponsors.

The helper was also sentenced to eight months in prison and to 200 lashes for attempting to commit suicide after she killed Tala in the Red Sea city of Yanbu.


Saudi media said that the helper appealed the verdict and the case will be referred to a higher court.

The helper who had been with Tala’s family for seven years used a cleaver to end Tala’s life while the father and mother were at work and the other two sisters at school.

No reason was given for the murder, but reports claimed that it was most likely linked to text messages the helper received from Indonesia on her mobile.

Indonesian consulate officials in Saudi Arabia said that they would initiate legal action against the person who sent the messages from Indonesia that apparently led to the child’s murder, Saudi daily Al Sharq reported on Monday.

A representative of the Indonesian diplomatic mission, a lawyer hired by the consulate and three translators attended the trial in Yanbu and efforts will be exerted to have Tala’s family accept diya (blood money) to forgive the helper.

The crime trial was opened last week and the public prosecutor requested the death penalty for the murder that shook Saudi Arabia to the core and triggered a wave of sympathy with the family, especially that the father caused an accident in which two people were killed as he rushed home to help his distraught wife after she discovered the crime.

Several women teachers used the tragedy to press the education ministry to open up nurseries in schools and help provide day care for their babies and young children.

They said that most teachers, including the victim’s mother, were forced to leave their babies and toddlers at home in the care of helpers and that the situation was not always comfortable.


About the author

Born August 3, 1960 in Monastir, Tunisia
Media career:
  • ABC News (Tunisia)
  • Bahrain Tribune
  • Gulf News
  • Bahrain Television News
Teaching career:
  • Monastir (Tunisia)
  • University of Bahrain
  • MA  Mass Communications, University of Leicester
  • BA  in English & US literature and studies, University of Tunis

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